Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon Dioxide Helps Some Plants Survive Cold Weather, Cornell Researchers Find

Date:
July 18, 1997
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere benefit some plants by making them more tolerant to cold temperatures, Cornell University researchers have discovered.

FOR RELEASE: July 17, 1997

Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander, Jr.Office: (607) 255-3290E-mail: bpf2@cornell.edu

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere benefitsome plants by making them more tolerant to cold temperatures, CornellUniversity researchers have discovered.

"This could mean earlier spring planting dates for some crops in thefuture," said David Wolfe, Cornell associate professor in the Department ofFruit and Vegetable Science. "It may also affect the mixture of species innatural plant communities, because only certain plants benefit in thisway." The researchers' study, "Elevated carbon dioxide mitigateschilling-induced water stress and photosynthetic reduction duringchilling," was published recently in the journal Plant, Cell andEnvironment (1997 20, 625-632). Steve Boese, instructor at the College ofCharleston, Charleston, S.C., and Jeff Melkonian, Cornell post-doctoralresearcher, co-authored the paper with Wolfe.

Also, Wolfe will present a poster on this topic at the Plant Biology '97conference cosponsored by the American and Canadian Societies of PlantPhysiology, in Vancouver, Canada, on Aug. 3 and 4.

"Our results are another example of how the increase in carbon dioxide andother greenhouse gases will shake up the plant world," Wolfe said. "Ourmaps of global vegetation zones will inevitably be altered by these sortsof direct effects on plants, whether or not we also have major changes inclimate."

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's SpecialGrants Agricultural Ecosystems Program.

The researchers have focused much of their attention thus far on two crops,beans and cucumbers, that are among a class of plants that tend to wiltwhen temperatures dip below about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. They knew fromprior experiments that elevated carbon dioxide levels often reduce the rateof water loss from leaves, and they suspected this effect would reduce theamount of chilling damage in these species.

This hypothesis was confirmed by their study. Plants grown and chilled atelevated carbon dioxide levels showed less severe wilting and suffered lesspermanent leaf damage than plants grown and chilled at current atmosphericcarbon dioxide concentrations.

"If carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles within the next century as weare expecting," Wolfe explained, "these species may be able to withstandtemperatures a few degrees cooler than they do now."

The research is the first to fully document that carbon dioxide can havesuch an easing effect on chilling damage. Most of the work has beenconducted in controlled-environment chambers. The researchers plan tofollow up with field experiments and test other plant species.

Wolfe points out that the rapid rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is stilla problem from the standpoint of being an important greenhouse gas that maychange our climate in unpredictable ways.

Said Wolfe: "I still think that fossil fuel emissions, the primary culpritin the carbon dioxide rise, are not good for the planet. Many of the othergases that are produced, such as sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrous oxidescan have direct negative effects on plants and humans, for that matter."

-30-

--------------------------------Cornell University News Service324 Judd Falls RoadIthaca, NY 14853607-255-4206 phone607-255-5373 faxmailto:cunews@cornell.eduhttp://www.news.cornell.edu


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Carbon Dioxide Helps Some Plants Survive Cold Weather, Cornell Researchers Find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/07/970718044054.htm>.
Cornell University. (1997, July 18). Carbon Dioxide Helps Some Plants Survive Cold Weather, Cornell Researchers Find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/07/970718044054.htm
Cornell University. "Carbon Dioxide Helps Some Plants Survive Cold Weather, Cornell Researchers Find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/07/970718044054.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins